Sigwalt Chicago #11 - missing a piece?

Hello. I’ve enjoyed reading this forum and recently joined. My daughter and I are papermakers who are trying to learn letterpress, and took a baby step in that direction by purchasing a Sigwalt Chicago #11.

Everything appears to be working well (we did need to get new rollers) except this: the ink disk turns freely and when the mechanism comes up to turn it, it simply ‘gives it a spin’. The mechanism that turns it has a spring which, when compressed, allows it to pass the disk without spinning it, and this arrangement suggests to us that it is supposed to turn when passing one direction, then return without turning the disk (almost like a ‘ratchet’ mechanism). However, because the disk turns freely, it just ‘spins’ in one direction then the other.

Is there a piece missing? Or do I simply provide some sort of friction to keep the disk from spinning so easily?

Thanks so much for any guidance.

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You might post a photo of the disk pawl. It’s possible that it has been assembled incorrectly.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Thanks for the reply. So here are three images. The first [edit: the pics are reversed in the post so the bottom one is the ‘first’] shows the mechanism without the ink disk attached. (Sorry for my lack of knowledge about proper terminology. We are still learning. I trust that ‘ink disk’ is clear enough.) You can see the hole where the shaft on the ink disk fits. That’s the only spot where it makes constant contact with the rest of the press, and it spins freely in that hole.

The second picture is with the disk in, and the ‘pawl’ (if I’ve got that right — the part that engages the raised ridges on the bottom of the disk) is in what I’ll call the ‘raised’ position (although at this point in its motion,the *handle* of the press is all the way down).

The third picture shows the pawl after it has engaged the disk and rotated it a little. That part seems fine, but when it is returned to the ‘raised’ position, it reverses that rotation.

(More precisely, when moving in either direction, it just hits a ridge on the bottom of the disk and makes the disk spin.)

The pawl is on a spring, and if I put some pressure on the disk with my finger, it rotates the disk by a small amount when moved from picture two [edit: the middle one] to picture three [the top one], but does nothing in the other direction (because the small resistance caused by my finger on the disk is enough to compress the spring and allow the pawl to move past the ridge without turning the disk — this is clearly the intended behavior because the pawl is well worn on that side; the problem is that there is no obvious way to put the required resistance on the disk apart from using my finger.)

image: Sig11_3_cropped.jpg


image: Sig11_2_cropped.jpg


image: Sig11_1_cropped.jpg